This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at Engineering World 2010, a conference dedicated to analyzing the next step in engineering maturity and productivity. This conference is organized by Sogeti, an OutSystems' partner, and was held at the Achmea Conference Center in Zeist.
I got there at about lunchtime, and the building entrance was filled with about 200 people getting ready to eat. I would've liked to attend the other presentations, but unfortunately they were all in Dutch... As soon as I got there, I was briefed on the proceedings of the conference and moved on to prepare the room; after I've gotten a typical dutch lunch consisting of sandwiches, that is!
By the time I started there were still a few empty chairs, but overall the room was nicely packed. My goal was to talk a bit about how Agile concepts and practices apply to the full software lifecycle, not only to software development. I gave particular attention to software maintenance, since it accounts for about 85% of the IT budget.
I started out by giving a short introduction on Agile, and quickly moved on to the juicy stuff. To illustrate my point, I picked a few examples of important or recurrent issues that occur when working in maintenance mode:
- Staging and Deploying
- Gathering User Feedback
- Cost of Change and Technological Debt
- Fitting Business Processes in an Application
For each of these issues, I talked about the problems they pose to both developers and management; I also showed how the Agile Platform addresses each of these challenges, to give a better idea of how you can apply Agile beyond development (you can see the presentation slides here).
I was very happy with the audience's reaction to my talk. There was a lot of nodding in agreement with the problems presented, and I'm convinced a lot of them had already experienced the troubles I was highlighting! I also spotted a lot of curiosity about the way the Agile Platform helps decrease the burden of maintenance, and I'm guessing a few of the attendants will download the Community Edition of the Platform to give it a try!